When teen con-artist Darius is approached by a mysterious government agent about joining a 'Project Oberon', he has no idea what to expect. Certainly not that Project Oberon is actually a top-secret experiment which sends teens back through time to prevent disasters before they happen! Before Darius has time to wonder why he's been chosen, his first mission arrives in the form of a huge electromagnetic weapon of mass destruction, which will kill millions of people in New York - unless Darius and the team can stop it. They're confident; it's all in a day's work for these teen wonders, but what they don't bet on is evil mastermind Ludd. And what they don't know is that Ludd knows the deadly secret behind Project Oberon. If Darius and the gang don't make it back to the portal within twenty-four hours, then they'll be lost in time forever...
I saw this one crop up on NetGalley recently and it looked like it could be a fun, quick read, because I’m a sucker for some good YA SciFi and my previous experiences with time travel-related stuff in general recently have all been positive, like The Fifty-Seven Lives of Alex Wayfare, The Fifteen Lives of Harry August and even the SyFy TV series 12 Monkeys has started off strongly. Unfortunately, Portal 24, is not one of those books that will be added to the list, as it turned out to be fairly underwhelming and quickly forgettable.
Darius Simms is the main protagonist, a con-artist who was approached by a Government Agent who told him that his girlfriend would die not long after. It isn’t long before one thing leads to the next, and Darius finds himself plunged into the field as a backup agent whose job, along with a group of fellow teens, is to stop disasters from happening. Kind of like Person Of interest, only with time travel rather than the Machine. However, he soon finds out that his first assignment is a pretty big one, with less than 24 hours before the destruction of New York City (because it’s always New York City).
The characters were fun and could just about make this book worth checking out, but none of them really stay long in your memory and could easily be found in another young adult book similar to this. You’ve got Bianca, the main female protagonist who knows her stuff when it comes to fighting and dishing out commands, Leon, who doubles as the team’s medic and hacker, and Malik, the team’s sniper. They make an interesting bunch but given the fact that the book is quite short, it doesn’t really develop them and you’ll struggle to remember even the main protagonist, Darius, a few days after reading the book itself.
That’s in part because the book speeds by so quickly. It will constantly have you flicking through the pages determined to get to the end, but whilst it may be fast paced, it doesn’t really have much depth to it. In short, it’s a summer blockbuster movie. Fun on the surface, but there are plenty of problems that come when you go back and start to pick Portal 24 apart.
Despite the fact that the book may be quite short, it could have been even shorter. There’s plenty of stuff that doesn’t really add much to the story as a whole and it ends up feeling wasted. Darius doesn’t really feel developed enough for us to care about him and neither do the rest of the cast, with him and Bianca being the two that have the most attention and the others seemed to be tacked on just to play certain roles in the book.
There’s so many standard moments that you’d find in any other young adult thriller – the ‘good guy’ con artist, the badass female character who falls in love with the main one pretty much instantly, and the unoriginal plot doesn’t really do this novel justice. Yes, it is entertaining and you won’t be bored whilst reading it, but there isn’t really enough there to make it stand out. It’s something that’s best for a quick read and nothing more, and sadly, something that I can’t really recommend.
Irene must be at the top of her game or she'll be off the case - permanently...
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she's posted to an alternative London. Their mission - to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it's already been stolen. London's underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Adding to the jeopardy, this world is chaos-infested - the laws of nature bent to allow supernatural creatures and unpredictable magic. Irene's new assistant is also hiding secrets of his own.
Soon, she's up to her eyebrows in a heady mix of danger, clues and secret societies. Yet failure is not an option - the nature of reality itself is at stake.
The Invisible Library is a novel with very interesting ideas and has plenty of things going for it. It’s fun,imaginative and entertaining, and feels very similar to several TV shows that most people will enjoy. It’s kind of like a mix of Doctor Who, Fringe and The Librarians (a New TV Series on SyFy – that’s awesome), and will certainly be worth your time if you intend to check it out.
The characters themselves are part of what makes the book so enjoyable. Irene, our main female lead, is an excellent protagonist and her chemistry with her assistant, Kai, is pulled off very well. The characters both have a nice dynamic and it’s good to see their development changing over the course of the book. With Irene having spent all her life in the library and Kai being a relative outsider, it’s clear to see how their different worlds have changed the characters. Their development was strong and I suspect for many, the characters will probably be the highlight of this series.
Genevieve Cogman has crafted a well paced, smart and fun novel that will certainly be a quick read for most people. There aren’t any elements where the pacing feels off and neither is there any major flaws that detract from other books. It certainly feels like a welcome break from any grimdark fiction that you’ll read lately, and if you’re looking for a book with a lighter tone than The Invisible Library will be right up your street.
With some great humour, The Invisible Library also benefits from a well developed world that will be interesting to explore in the sequels – of which I will be looking forward to reading for sure. The titular library has a very powerful effect on the book, and its presence is felt indeed, feeling like a character in its own right.
There’s a lot of magical and supernatural intrigue that’s packed into this series and due to Cogman’s writing it never feels like the author is trying to cram too much in, too quickly. The plot moves along at a rapid pace and whilst it’s enough to stand on its own, the book has plenty of unanswered questions that could be expanded upon in future novels.
Genevieve Cogman offers an addictive start to a new series that can only get better as it progresses, with The Invisible Library only touching the surface of what we can get from this new world that readers will find themselves in. As mentioned above, if you’re a fan of the likes of Doctor Who, Fringe or The Librarians, or in fact, just fun urban fantasy in general, you won’t want to miss this.
Not quite as good as the first novel but still pretty interesting. Will still be watching the film though, as I really enjoyed the first movie. And I'Not quite as good as the first novel but still pretty interesting. Will still be watching the film though, as I really enjoyed the first movie. And I'll probably read the third book as well, just to conclude the trilogy. ...more
WHAT IS THE SILENCE OF THE SIX, AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
"These are the last words uttered by 17-year-old Max Stein’s best friend, Evan: Just moments after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their high school, he kills himself.
Haunted by the image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world turns upside down as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting to prove his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.
Max must dust off his own hacking skills and maneuver the dangerous labyrinth of underground hacktivist networks, ever-shifting alliances, and virtual identities — all while hoping to find the truth behind the “Silence of Six” before it’s too late."
I’ve been interested in reading something from E.C. Myers ever since I heard about his Fair Coin novel when it was initially released. However, The Silence of the Six is actually the first time I’ve got the chance to read something by the author, and as it turned out, it didn’t disappoint, delivering a fantastic young adult novel that makes for a refreshing break from all the no-hope, dark, frequent love-triangle featuring dystopian dramas that young adult has been filled with ever since The Hunger Games was released. It’s similar to that of Kim Curran’s awesome Glaze, another young adult novel which I can highly recommend, and has several things going for it, and on top of the similarities with Glaze, I also couldn’t help be reminded of the awesome Person of Interest whilst I was reading the book, even if obviously they are too very different things. So it’s always a good sign when the novel not only can be comparable with one of my favourite young adult reads of this year, but also my favourite TV Series that’s currently on air.
The Silence of the Six explores a fascinating complex. Max Stein, a seventeen year old former hacker turned one of the most popular kids in school, complete a girlfriend named Courtney, finds his life turned upside down when his best friend Evan kills himself just moments after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their local high school. It isn’t long before he finds himself the target of the corporate-government, and with things looking increasingly desperate, he’s found himself constantly pushed into a corner with allies decreasing at every passing second.
The characters themselves are great, well developed and constantly grow over the course of the novel. Max gets the most notable development as the main character, but also there’s a good role for Courtney among other characters. It handles the situation realistically and really is a good book for making you think about what goes on behind the scenes, with the novel exploring the world of hackers which is something that works both in the novel’s favour and against it.
For example, someone who isn’t that big on advanced computer technology it can be a lot to stomach the details. Despite this though, the book should provide a very entertaining read, with plenty of stuff going on from start to finish. It might not quite be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was something that I really ended up loving. It got better and better as things progressed and by the end of the novel I was struggling to put it down.
The Silence of the Six is a pretty brilliant read and if you like good, mystery/thriller young adult novels set in a modern day setting then you’ll certainly get a kick out of E.C. Myer’s latest. Even if you’re not necessarily an avid reader of young adult, if stuff like Person of Interest (like I’ve already mentioned) and Watch Dogs is your sort of thing then The Silence of the Six should be right up your street. Recommended.
In Meritropolis everyone is assigned a numerical Score that decides their worth to society and whether they live or die. After a young boy is killed because of a low Score, his brother plots to take down the System.
Meritropolis first grabbed my attention due to the fact that it was billed as The Hunger Games with a young Jack Reacher as a protagonist. I’m unfamiliar with the other comparison, The Village, listed in the quote provided on the blurb by Donny Meader, but despite this, it was enough when combined with the interesting sounding blurb to get me reading. Meritropolis was compelling enough to keep me reading, and whilst it’s probably among the better crop of YA dystopian that you’ll read, it still doesn’t quite reach the heights of The Hunger Games.
Joel Ohman is a debut novelist and I didn’t actually realise until after reading the book that it was, as it turns out, self published. Don’t let the fact that it’s not traditionally publisher put you off though as it’s a pretty decent read, despite the few major problems that the book has. Yes, there isn’t exactly anything new here. But it creates an interesting world and a fairly strongly developed cast of characters which is enough to keep you invested even if it’s likely a book that you’re going to forget fairly quickly.
The world in Meritropolis is very much similar to that of Orwell’s 1984. You have to obey what Big Brother the system says, or else you will be punished. The community of Meritropolis is trapped inside a city surrounded by various animal hybrids and if you don’t meet a certain Score set down by the system then you will be thrown outside of the gates. Nobody has ever survived a night outside the walls of the city, but those who get high scores are rewarded.
Charley, our main character, has lost his younger brother because of his low Score. Nine years of building hatred and anger have pushed Charley to the edge and now he finds himself revealed with an extremely high Score, which just happens to save him from the punishment of a “crime” that he had just committed. Charley is then enlisted into the Hunter faction, a group that patrols outside of the walls. However, secretly, he’s biding his time, waiting in an attempt to strike back at the system.
The book itself was an incredibly short read. I sped through it really quickly and the pace pulled me and would not let go. However, there was a problem with this approach, and that came with the ending, which felt really rushed. Sure, it built to a nice climax, but there was a moment where I just sat there wondering whether this book had truly ended or not. Yes, it ended on a cliffhanger, as is fairly typical of all dystopian young adult novels nowadays, but it didn’t really feel as effective as it should have. It felt like the author was trying to wrap things up as quickly as he could in order to make the book end on a hook that would get the reader to read the next novel.
And does it work? Well, kind of. I’m intrigued and kind of want to find out more, but at the same time, this book didn’t blow me away so there’s nothing that makes book two something that will appear on my list of highly anticipated reads anytime soon. I’ll read it if I can (this is of course, assuming there ever is one, because it certainly felt like there needed to be a second), but yeah, I’m not going to go out of my way to read it.
The characters are well, not that memorable either and fairly standard. Charley is the one that is easily the most memorable and the others aren’t really fleshed out well enough to make a lasting impact on the reader and the only one I can recall without looking up is Sandy, the main female character, which isn’t good considering that I finished the book not even a week ago. They never made a strong impression on me as a reader and I couldn’t help but feeling underwhelmed, and they could have easily been given some much needed depth.
In conclusion then, Meritropolis is a bit hit and miss. The Worldbuilding is pulled off fairly well and the pace is pretty good until the end where it feels rushed. The characters aside from Charley could have used a bit more development to give them a lasting impression, but despite the problems the book remains fairly enjoyable and fun. So yes, there are a lot better titles out there, but you could do a heck of a lot worse than this one.
IMPORTANT: This is a review copy from Jo Fletcher Books and would normally go live on The Founding Fields. However, seeing as the backend of TFF is currently down, all book reviews will be posted on The Fictional Hangout for the foreseeable future. When the problem with TFF is eventually fixed, they will be reposted on The Founding Fields. Apologies for any inconveniences.
Four months ago, Mater Viae, the Goddess of London, returned from London-Under- Glass to reclaim her throne. And ever since then, London has been dying.
Streets are wracked by convulsions as muscles of wire and pipe go into spasm, bunching the city into a crippled new geography; pavements flare to thousand-degree fevers, incinerating anyone and anything touching them. Towers crash to the ground, their foundations decayed.
As the streets sicken, so does Beth, drawn ever deeper into the heart of the city, while Pen fights desperately for a way to save her. But when they discover that Mater Viae’s plans for dominion stretch far beyond London’s borders, they must make a choice: Beth has it within her to unleash the city’s oldest and greatest powers – powers that could challenge the vengeful goddess, or destroy the city itself.
I’ve been writing a lot of positive reviews for books lately, be they Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea or The Girl with All the Gifts by MR Carey, and it looks like Our Lady of the Streets is going to be another addition to that line of awesome books that I’ve been reading. It’s the final act in what has been a fantastic young adult trilogy, with The Skyscraper Throne really being a must read for anyone who loves reading the fiction that this genre has given us in the past. It certainly stands up with my favourite YA books, and provides a wonderful closing act that fans will certainly enjoy.
Whilst the last book was focused mainly on Pen, Our Lady of the Streets puts Beth Bradley back in the spotlight and it shows just how much she’s developed as a character over the course of the book. She needs to take lead and stop a London under siege, as Master Viae has returned to the Capital. In order to emerge victorious she has to discover more about her transformation and whether she’s gained any new powers from it or not. In weaker hands, this would simply make Beth boring by putting her in what could easily have fallen into the trap of being yet another ‘Chosen One’ type story, but Pollock is confident enough to keep things original and in the right place, given Beth both strengths and weaknesses as a character, and keeps the book feeling fresh. At her core though, she’s still the Beth Bradley that readers are familiar with, and there are as ever some good lines that she delivers over the course of the book.
However, that doesn’t mean to say the book is all about Beth. We get to learn more about Pen as well, who has also gone from strength to strength as a character. Both Beth and Pen are fantastic leads, and her role in this book is fleshed out enough to prevent Beth from overshadowing her character. Pollock handles both girls well, and draw their storylines to satisfying conclusions.
Our Lady of the Streets expands on the worlds that both Pen and Beth have discovered. Pen’s London-Under-Glass and Beth’s world that she discovered are merged so well that you won’t even notice the difference, as Pollock manages to continue to flesh out what has been one of the most unique takes on Urban Fantasy set in London that I’ve seen. The only title that I’ve read that comes close to this sort of originality in this type of setting is Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and as that is my favourite novel, that’s certainly saying something.
The pacing is pulled off pretty well. There aren’t any moments that feel out of place and the narrative switch between Beth and Pen is handled well. Both are given plenty of page time so their stories can come to a conclusion and as a result, this trilogy is fantastic to read indeed. The quality remains so consistent that it’s hard to pick a standout book in the entire trilogy, with each title going from strength to strength.
With Our Lady of the Streets, Tom Pollock concludes what has been a superb trilogy. All three novels have shined and this one deals with the final act very well. Fans should really enjoy this book and I’ll be eagerly looking forward to seeing what Pollock can come up with next, if this is anything to go by then he’s certainly earned the status of a must read author in my book, and he should be one in your eyes too.
So it was OK. Nothing to special but thankfully not horrible either. Doubt I'll read the sequels in the foreseeable future. However, I'm just going toSo it was OK. Nothing to special but thankfully not horrible either. Doubt I'll read the sequels in the foreseeable future. However, I'm just going to put it out there and say that a young adult space opera as opposed to a dystopia would be awesome. Maybe Guardians of the Galaxy can start a trend? ...more
“This book is proof that you shouldn’t judge things just by what they’re billed as. What could have been a cheap ripoff and cash-in attempt on the popularity of The Hunger Games and Divergent instead is something that shines, and is full of its own originality. The Dystopian Young Adult genre may be overcrowded right now – but Paradigm is something that’s worth checking out.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
What if the end of the world was just the beginning?
Alice Davenport awakens from a fever to find her mother gone and the city she lives in ravaged by storms – with few survivors.
When Alice is finally rescued, she is taken to a huge underground bunker owned by the mysterious Paradigm Industries. As the storms worsen, the hatches close.
87 years later, amidst the ruins of London, the survivors of the Storms have reinvented society. The Model maintains a perfect balance – with inhabitants routinely frozen until they are needed by the Industry.
Fifteen-year-old Carter Warren knows his time has come. Awoken from the catacombs as a contender for the role of Controller General, it is his destiny to succeed – where his parents failed.
But Carter soon discovers that the world has changed, in ways that make him begin to question everything that he believes in. As Carter is forced to fight for those he loves and even for his life, it seems that the key to the future lies in the secrets of the past…
As the quote above suggests, I was initially put off by Paradigm. It looked a bit too much like familiar territory for me and quite frankly it’s annoying to see yet another young adult dystopian fiction title when there’s so much more to the science fiction genre than just post-apocalyptic scenarios in a world screwed up. I for one, would kill to see a fully blown Space Opera young adult book – think the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie for where I’m getting my thoughts from. I’d take space opera as a trend anyday over well, this.
However, as is proven in the case of The Hunger Games, there are some titles worth reading from this subgenre, and Paradigm is a great example, with a plot that isn’t exactly your standard dystopian fare, and for a refreshing change, it’s actually set in London – or at least, in part – and that pretty much gains points from me right there because I will read pretty much any SciFi/Fantasy that has some version of London as its origin, purely because I’m an ex-Londoner myself.
The book isn’t just set in London though. It deals with an interesting scenario where the narrative actually has an 87 year split. The book tells the story of how the world went to hell, and what happened in the future. It’s smart, compelling, and Ceri A. Lowe has found a good way to bridge the gap and keep both stories relevant.
The main characters are interesting and compelling. Alice Davenport is essentially the main character from the present, where we get to see London destroyed by storms that leave little survivors. She’s lost her mother, and it’s interesting to see how Lowe handles Alice’s character in the aftermath and as she develops over the course of the book. However, what makes a refreshing change from the likes of Divergent and The Hunger Games is that there’s actually a shift in narrator – rather than sticking with Alice throughout the whole book, we also meet Carter Warren, who’s a fifteen year old 87 years into the future, who has his own problems.
What also makes this book stand out from the crowd is that we get to see the dystopian setting not only from the perspective of the rebels but we also get the reasoning behind its creation. Why was a strict Government necessary? It’s an interesting addition and the time-split in the narratives helps Lowe illustrate how much things have changed. It’s handled well and that’s not just the only thing that feels fresh about the dystopian setting in this novel.
For a start, there’s virtually no romance. Paradigm doesn’t fall into the trap of other books by overloading on love triangles and making the romance become the main focus of the plot. Like the refreshing changes and additions to the book, it really helps make it stand out. This isn’t just your average cheap cash in novel, folks.It proves there’s still good things to be found in the young adult dystopian genre, even if I’d rather that we moved on from this craze.
There are a few problems however, and for a start, I’d like to talk about the cover. It just feels so same-y and as though we’ve been there, and done that. The addition of the London skyline is good but more change should have been made to make this book standout more. It doesn’t detract from the main experience of the storyline but it probably should have been improved
Carter’s development is unfortunately inconsistent, and happens too quickly and too fast. The change should have happened at a slower pace and he shouldn’t have been influenced as easy as he did, and as a result his story comes across as weaker than Alice’s.
On the whole then, Paradigm is a mostly successful read. It’s compelling, engaging and a refreshing dystopian Young Adult novel that can come recommended despite its flaws.
IMPORTANT: This is a review copy from NetGalley and would normally go live on The Founding Fields. However, seeing as the backend of TFF is currently down, all book reviews will be posted on The Fictional Hangout for the foreseeable future. When the problem with TFF is eventually fixed, they will be reposted on The Founding Fields. Apologies for any inconveniences.
After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.
The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.
The dystopian setting is something that I have come to loath in young adult fiction ever since the exploding success of The Hunger Games, which has triggered clone after clone that never could quite find the same spark that Collins’ fiction had. (I’m looking at you, Divergent) – I’ve always preferred the broader and not-always doom and gloom space opera, where you’ll find gems like Guardians of the Galaxy (Not exactly a young adult book, but you get my point). It’s a genre that doesn’t receive as much love in YA as it should, but that’s beside the point. Because actually, there is one sub-sub-genre of dystopian fiction that I can enjoy, and that’s stuff like The Young World – in part due to my love of Michael Grant’s Gone series (more on the similarities later). And whilst this novel doesn’t always find the right marks, it sure knows how to deliver an entertaining read.
And that is in large part due to Chris Weitz’s history as a movie director. Whilst he may be responsible for butchering Phillip Pullman’s Golden Compass Northern Lights and ending it just before it actually could reach the finale, Weitz actually manages to sort-of redeem himself here with a book that’s ready in line for a movie adaption. I wouldn’t be too surprised if we saw a Weitz-helmed adaption on the screen within the next few years given the recent dystopian movie trend (To my knowledge, there’s three adaptions of YA dystopian novels, the already-released Divergent and The Giver, and the upcoming Maze Runner) because this book actually reads like a film. It’s fast paced, action packed, and contains several elements such as love-triangles (that thankfully, do not take up as large part of the book as they could have done) and cliffhangers that will have you looking forward to the next volume.
The plot is fairly well paced and the book reads pretty quickly. A virus has eliminated all the adults and only the kids remain, having divided into tribes. It’s on a much larger scale to Lord of the Flies (which was just an island) and even Michael Grant’s Gone (which was just a town), displaying a vision of a post apocalyptic New York. It’s a refreshing take to see a novel with the kids ruling the world subplot use a real-life city after Gone, especially one on such a big scale. That’s one of the few things that helps make it stand out, and whilst there are definitely similarities between the two, you’ll see less supernatural/alien stuff here and more plain simple survival. There’s also the cliffhanger at the end of the novel, and the ending – which makes it seem like book two will take a very different direction indeed. So if you’re going to go in expecting a Gone clone – or even a clone from a similar book that you’ve read, expect surprises. On the surface it may sound familiar, but pull back the layers and you’ll find a different beast.
The characters are, unfortunately hit and miss with The Young World. Jefferson and Donna, are the two leads and both share first-person POVs. Both narrative styles are different and it’s clear that Weitz is trying to make the characters distinctive. However, the effort doesn’t quite work as well as it should – whilst Jefferson is largely solid, he’s also quickly forgettable, being the dull, boring white male lead that’s hampered plenty of projects in the past (Aiden Pearce’s Watch Dogs is perhaps the most recent example I can think of, even if it’s a video game) and the secondary figures are far more interesting. I enjoyed reading from Donna’s perspective (for most of the book, anyway), because her character was a lot more appealing, kick-ass and pure fun, with plenty of wisecracks. If Donna’s character had not regressed in development at the ending when she became involved as one (of two) of Jefferson’s love interests in this book, she could well end being one my favourite characters of 2014, which is a massive shame, and also means that by the end of the book there are no real characters that will have any lasting impact, because you are ultimately left with a sea of stereotypes that fill the secondary cast.
The stereotypes don’t improve over the course of the book, and they’re rarely flushed out. In fact, their adopted names pretty much define their respective personalities. The male, Brainbox is a nerd, and SeeThrough, is of Asian descent with ninja training. There are others, but they’re so bland I’ve forgotten about them. So whilst you can give Weitz credit for his fast paced approach and having a reasonable attempt at making this book standout from Gone, its characters are something that drags it down a lot, preventing it from being great. Because of this, Its merely OK. Be it the enjoyable kind of OK and a fun way to pass the time – but still, it never reaches the height of greatness.
And the problems don’t stop there. Depending on your tolerance for pop culture references, you may find this a bigger issue than others, but they just keep on coming in this book, with everything from Game of Thrones to Justin Bieber being covered. Characters describe fighting like moves from ‘Movie X’, which can be frustrating if you’ve never seen the movie in question. Again, this could be argued that teenagers make a lot of pop culture references, but it sometimes doesn’t always work as well as it should, and hopefully this is a lesson that Weitz learns in the next book.
However, if you can put the problems aside, The Young World manages to be an enjoyable read. It’s very much a brain-switched off adventure, with Michael Bay’s Transformers movies or the World War Z movie being comparable in terms of scale. They’re entertaining, but not too serious. Depending on your attitude towards these sort of things, this just may be your type of book. If not, stay clear.
“An excellent read from Kim Curran,who delivers a fascinating book with some compelling characters and a strong, thought provoking narrative that remains compelling throughout. Highly Recommended – this could well end up being one of the best young adult novels of 2014.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields
Petri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE… or destroy it.
I loved Kim Curran’s Shift when I read it towards the end of last year and for me it remains one of Strange Chemistry’s better books, despite the fact that they’re continuing to put out a strong slew of releases. This time though, Glaze isn’t coming from the Angry Robot YA Imprint, it’s self published – and works really well. If you like intelligent YA novels then you can’t go wrong here, because this book has a lot of things going for it. It’s smart, compelling, and thought provoking, taking place in a near future world with Social Media being a key thing. And on top of that, it has good characters – making this book the perfect novel to read if you’re a fan of the genre.
GlazeThe book itself explores Social Media in the future, with the fascinating concept of Glaze, where everybody over a certain age is hooked up to the Social Network in your head. Several things are no longer valid – you don’t need watches when you can look up the time on your eyelids for example, and the end result allows for a very interesting subject mater, set firmly in the Sci-Fi genre, with a world that could easily be ours. There’s nothing here that seems too far-fetched or implausible, and the book deals with the concept in a solid way that reminded me briefly of The Matrix - only, substitute the titular element for Social Network.
Petri is a test-tube baby, daughter of Zizi Quinn, who played a key role in developing Glaze. Her character is strongly developed and far from perfect, and whilst she may be a genius at Maths, she does suffer from a few problems that makes her flawed, believable and rootable. For example, one of them – she’s not connected to the Glaze. All of her friends are using the social network on a daily basis and all she wants to do is access it. However, when the Police believe she started a riot at one of the anti-Glaze Protests, she’s given a five year ban from Glaze, a year before she can get on it. Only, not only are there rumours that she’s going to get a lifelong ban from Glaze – it might not be as safe as everyone thinks it is.
On top of that, there are other characters as well that are thrown into the mix, and quite a lot of them. Unfortunately this means that not all of them leave a big impact on the reader, but the main cast leave a strong presence. Petri’s mother, Zizi, classmates Kiara and Ryan, Glaze owner Max and the enigmatic teenager Ethan are the most fleshed out, and all enhance the book and add their own touch to the novel so that they never feel like carbon copies of other characters. There’s depth. There’s chemistry – between Petri and Ethan and the rest of the cast, and it works well, with some strong dialogue and nothing that really feels forced.
Glaze is shaping up to be one of my favourite Young Adult novels of the year so far. It’s smart, intelligent, quirky and with some great characters that make it a compelling read. The pace is strong as well, with the book really kicking into gear towards the end, and despite the fact that it took me a while to get going I was really hooked around halfway through, and read the whole second half in pretty much one bus journey. It’s something that’s very different from Curran’s Shift books and not just in the way that there’s a female character rather than a male one.
This book is one of the better things to come out of the dystopian /young adult fiction genre. It’s different to the likes of The Hunger Games and its various copycats, and stands as a breath of fresh air in a genre that was starting to feel repetitive after too many books featuring female characters involved with love triangles in a world ruled by an ‘evil’ Government, and is also something that could really work well as a film adaption if given the right hands. If you’re a fan of Kim Curran’s previous work or looking for some good young adult fiction then this book should be right up your street. Give it a try – trust me, you won’t regret it.